Would you like to start a nature journal for 2022? Art and nature alike are known to boost wellbeing – so this new project combines the two. This is an opportunity to try something different for the New Year as you observe nature more closely and record what you see. You could use writing, drawing, painting, craft, photography, video, maps or transient art (found materials) in your journal, to record what you see around you. It’s a way to get creative and be mindful. It doesn’t matter where you live, as you could record what you see and hear from your window or in a town or city park – or even use your imagination… it doesn’t have to be in the countryside. Each week you’ll receive an email with ideas and guidance and examples, and there’ll also be a private project Facebook group where you can share your journal and how you’re getting on if you would like to do so (although you can still take part without joining the Facebook group). This will run as part of The Big Draw.
The project will initially run for January and February. If participants want to continue then it could be extended.
There is a one-off sign up fee of £3.50 to take part – There is a one-off sign up fee of £3.50 to take part – please sign up on Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/221410002277
Would you like to join an art and craft for mental health Facebook group? I hope this will be a supportive space to try some art and see how it might help. I know that creativity can really help issues like anxiety, depression and OCD, and sharing ideas and projects can be fun. I will suggest ideas you might like to try in the group, and show examples, but it would also be great if you’d like to share ideas of your own. Absolutely no pressure to share if you don’t want to though! No experience of art or craft needed – this is not about whether or not people are good at art, it’s all about experimenting, having a go and playing around with colour and line and seeing what happens. I hope the group will also be a space to share mental health issues and support each other. Please go to (1) Think Art | Facebook
Medley marked the National Day of Arts in Care Homes 2021 by producing a free activity ideas resource which was sent out on request to 120 care homes, from Plymouth to Aberdeen. The resource focused on the National Association of Activity Provider’s Moving And Grooving theme, with music suggestions, art and craft ideas and ways to connect with nature, all on a movement and dance theme.
41 people took part in Medley’s Birds A-Z art for wellbeing challenge from home. Part of The Big Draw 2021, the Challenge ran from August to December. From avocet to zebra finch, via heron, kingfisher, sparrow and woodpecker…Each week we focused on a different letter of the alphabet, to draw, paint or occasionally craft birds beginning with that letter.
In June 2021 I produced colouring sheets of footballers in action to mark the Euros tournament, and sent these out to the 94 care homes across the UK which requested them. Here are images shared by one of the care homes, Balclutha Court:
Medley’s most recent art for wellbeing project, Plants On Paper, ran throughout the month of May 2021, with 36 people taking part. Flexible art and craft ideas on a plants theme were sent to participants each week, with step-by-step instructions and images as well as themed music & nature ideas and thoughts on wellbeing. Some people also joined the project’s dedicated private Facebook group and it was great to see how they responded to the project. Some images shared by Plants On Paper participants can be seen below:
Medley started running online projects in early 2021. The first art for wellbeing project, Free As A Bird, ran throughout the month of February. A range of art and craft activities on a birds theme were emailed out each week to the 210 people who registered to take part, along with music and nature ideas and thoughts on wellbeing. Some participants also joined the project’s dedicated Facebook group where they could share artwork.
The Free As A Bird project ran again for the month of March 2021, this time specifically for people having to shield from Covid-19 or who are struggling with ongoing coronavirus lockdown restrictions. 55 people joined the project.
Medley also ran a music for wellbeing project in March 2021, Another Day, Another Song. As the name suggests, this project recommended a different song to listen to each day of the month to boost wellbeing. 36 people took part.
I plan to run the next art for wellbeing project in the autumn.
Further projects will follow, hopefully covering all three areas: nature, music and art.
In April 2021 I led a Zoom drawing session for a Stroke Association group. I hope to lead more similar sessions.
Medley also plans to link local music, art or nature groups in different areas with support groups for people in particular circumstances. A project might see a local nature group share their experiences with a support group, or a community choir sing with a support group or a local art group paint a mural for a support group venue, for example. Medley’s community work will be flexible and built around cooperation, drawing people together to engage with nature, art and/or music.
If you are involved with a local or community music, nature or art group anywhere in the UK and would like to learn more about these plans, it would be great to hear from you. Or if you attend or run a support group which you think might like to get involved , then do get in touch as well.